by Michael Catalini
June 26, 2014
Bob Corker wants a problem-solver to run for president in 2016.
Not by chance, that's how the Tennessee Republican and ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee describes his own role in the Senate.
"Every senator has probably thought about it," Corker said about running for president. "All I really wish to see happen in 2016 is that we have a good president, great president for our nation. I hope someone steps forward that has the ability to solve problems—not just throw rhetoric out there."
And despite serving in one of the least productive Senates in history, solving problems is something Corker thinks he's done since landing in the upper chamber in 2006.
Indeed, while the tea party has dragged the Republican Party rightward and the GOP wages a pitched fight for control of the Senate, Corker has been busy forging a reputation as a deal-maker, someone who zeroes in on a high-stakes issue and then crosses the aisle to ink a deal with Democrats.
In 2009 and 2010, he worked with then-Sen. Christopher Dodd on financial regulatory reform. Last year, he wrote a border-security amendment that pushed an overhaul of the immigration system through the Senate against conservative opposition. Now, he's working with Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut on a long-shot plan to shore up the depleting Highway Trust Fund and offering a plan that would hike the gas tax.
In the process, he's won positive press, endeared himself to his Democratic colleagues, and secured a platform from which to draw a contrast with a wing of his party that he views as too rigid.